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Rep. Markkanen plan provides much-needed update to licensure rules for auto mechanics
RELEASE|January 28, 2020

Legislator: Specialty licenses should not be required to work on pickup trucks

A plan introduced by state Rep. Greg Markkanen would update Michigan’s licensure rules for auto mechanics to more accurately reflect the larger size of modern pickup trucks.

Markkanen, of Hancock, said mechanics are required to have a special certification to work on heavy-duty trucks because bigger, commercial trucks typically have more advanced components. When the current requirements were put in place, 10,000 pounds was a good benchmark to differentiate between standard passenger trucks and larger commercial trucks that should require the added certificate.

“At the time, it made sense to classify any vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds as a heavy-duty truck,” Markkanen said. “Today, that doesn’t make so much sense. Many modern pickup trucks weigh more than 10,000 pounds, and their engines, transmissions and other components do not differ from smaller cars and trucks.”

For example, Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD truck models produced between 2001 and 2019 weigh between 10,000 and 13,020 pounds. Models of the Ford F-350 produced between 1999 and 2019 weigh between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds.

Markkanen said the situation has caused problems for auto repair shops of all sizes.

“A small shop always has to have a special heavy-duty mechanic on duty, or they might have to turn away business if someone shows up in a pickup truck,” Markkanen said. “In larger shops, a mechanic with a heavy-duty certification might get pulled away from a legitimate heavy-duty truck, just so they can do a basic repair on a pickup truck.”
Markkanen’s proposal, House Bill 5194, updates the definition of a heavy-duty truck to include any vehicle with a weight rating of more than 14,000 pounds. With this change, a special certificate would no longer be needed to work on pickup trucks that weigh between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds.

The plan was approved today by the House Transportation Committee. It now advances to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.

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